Storm chasers told to stay safe as waves crash through harbour wall

The damage in Ilfracombe this morning (Sun). Pic: Andrew Pettey

The damage in Ilfracombe this morning (Sun). Pic: Andrew Pettey - Credit: Archant

Ilfracombe harbour master warns those watching the stormy seas to ‘keep well clear’.

The damage caused to the stone facing of a harbour wall at Marine Drive in Ilfracombe.

The damage caused to the stone facing of a harbour wall at Marine Drive in Ilfracombe. - Credit: Archant

STORM seekers had a thrill this weekend as huge waves came crashing into Ilfracombe harbour – even destroying part of the promenade.

Photo by Jay Joachim

Photo by Jay Joachim - Credit: Archant

Gusts of around 60 miles per hour whipped up waves which ricocheted several metres up the sea front in Ilfracombe, Combe Martin and Westward Ho!

Despite their size, Ilfracombe Pier and harbour area suffered relatively minor damage, while Verity came through unscathed.

However on Sunday crews began to clean up the wall behind the Landmark Theatre, which was left in pieces from the force of the sea.

Harbour master Rob Lawson said the stone facing of a wall at Marine Drive had collapsed, plus a light column had also bent under the force of the waves. Work to repair the wall is set to start on Wednesday.


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“I think we have done reasonably well from it,” he said.

“Certainly the original storm last week did not really happen, it was much worse this weekend.”

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But he warned sightseers to take great care when watching the waves: “People still fail to understand the power of the sea. It’s very difficult, they want to see it and get as close as possible but I do fear for people sometimes,” he said.

“The message is to keep well clear and don’t put yourself in danger’s way.”

In Barnstaple, one car owner received a shock when she found her vehicle surrounded by cold, muddy water.

The River Taw had come up on high tide, surrounding the solitary vehicle parked on the slipway at Castle Quay.

Luckily, three men helped her to push the car from the water where it was reported to have started just fine.

Dozens of Gazette readers sent in their photos and videos of the storm – to see them click here.

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